Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Up Gradation of Health Institutions

Creation, up-gradation of health institutions House Panel detects influence of Ministries, neglect of DDB decisions

 Establishing the allegations of irregularities and violation of prescribed norms by the Health Department in the process of creation/ up-gradation of various health institutions in the State, House Committee of Legislative Assembly has detected influence of certain Ministries in the departmental proposals for creation and up-gradation of various health institutions in one or the other way and neglect of the District Development Board decisions.

The House Panel headed by ruling National Conference MLA, Dr Mustafa Kamal, in its report tabled in the Legislative Assembly today, has observed that certain areas were ignored altogether whereas some specific areas were blessed with extra-ordinary treatment during the period between April 1, 2002 to March 31, 2011.

Expressing concern over altogether neglect of uncovered areas, the report said, "the creation/ upgradations were made in specific constituencies in violation of prescribed norms and at the cost of other constituencies particularly those falling in far flung and remote areas of the State such as Ramban, Kishtwar, Doda, Poonch and Rajouri where not even a single such institution was created/ upgraded during the period".

"The National Population Norms prescribed and adopted with a slight variation for creation/ establishment of various health institutions in the State, are irrelevant and irrational in view of the fact that the topography of State is very difficult and there are large number of areas which are far flung and remain cut off during winters", the report said.

"The re-establishment of six Primary Health Centres in Charar-i-Sharief Constituency (sanctioned vide Govt Order No.833-HME of 2002 but subsequently closed in 2004 vide Govt Order No.134-HME of 2004) and creation of posts for making these PHCs functional in 2010 is not understandable", the report said while terming the concern shown by the Members of the Legislative Assembly on the floor of the House in this regard as justified.

Stating that Department should have re-assessed the situation keeping in view the population coverage of the existing PHCs in the area before proposing the revival of closed PHCs/ up-gradation of two new Sub Centers by way of creation of posts in 2010, the report said, "though the departmental proposals should be based only on the District Development Board decisions, which are taken on the proposals of the public representatives, yet no such decision was referred to by the Department in this case".

The House Committee has also witnessed instances of same nature in respect of other constituencies including Akhnoor, Chhamb, Khan Sahib etc during the period between 2002 to 2011. "The influence of certain Ministries in the departmental proposals for creation and up-gradation of various health institutions is clearly reflected in one or the other way in the information furnished by the department on the subject during the entire period of reference (2002 to 2011)", the report said, adding "the establishment/ up-gradation of various health institutions by way of creation of posts and provision of additional staff by virtue of Government Order No.235-HME of 2010 speaks a lot on such influence".

"Since the adopted procedure weakens the system itself and the spirit of good governance is adversely affected by such tendencies, the circumstances warrant immediate closure of all such health institutions in various constituencies of the State but keeping in view the inconvenience likely to be caused to the inhabitants of the areas concerned, it would be wise to take immediate steps for creation/ up-gradation of required number of health institutions particularly the PHCs/CHCs and Sub-District Hospitals in the left over constituencies as per the existing norms and deficiencies on top priority basis during the next financial year itself", the report said.

"The closure of 35 sub-centres opened on internal arrangement basis in district Rajouri out of 77 such institutions in Jammu division reportedly due to paucity of staff since 2009 is yet another matter of concern", the Committee observed and recommended re-opening of all these Sub-Centers in Rajouri district with immediate effect.

Highlighting the importance of health and family welfare institutions, the Committee has observed that Government must ensure the availability of requisite infrastructure and manpower in all the health institutions to achieve the very basic objective of providing better healthcare to every soul in the State without any political reservations. "The political affiliation of the public representatives must not deprive the inhabitants of their fundamental rights in any case", report said.

Recommending immediate steps to restore 134 left over posts kept in abeyance during 2004 for strengthening the concerned health institutions for which the posts were created in 2002, the report said, "there is no justification for keeping them in abeyance any more when certain number of such posts relating to the health institutions in certain areas have already been restored".

"For future expansion and proper health planning, it is imperative on the part of concerned authorities to carefully identify the locations where the new health facilities are required to be established on rational criteria", the report said, adding "concrete steps are required to be taken to fill up the vacancies in all the health institutions of the State in order to make them fully functional thereby providing adequate medicare facilities to the general public".

The Committee has suggested that allocation of funds for creation of requisite infrastructure in health sector should be made rational and absolute transparency must be ensured in distribution of same amongst the districts/ constituencies under all heads.

It is pertinent to mention here that House Committee was constituted following the discussion on a supplementary question raised by PDP MLA, Choudhry Zulfikar Ali during last Budget Session wherein serious concern was expressed by the House over irregularities and violation of prescribed norms by the Health Department in the process of creation/ up-gradation of various health institutions in the State.

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